|For centuries, different tribes have made Kachina Dolls to use in religious ceremonies. The term "Kachina" refers to a masked and costumed dancer representing various spiritual and natural aspects of life. Kachinas are friends, guardians, or messengers to the Gods. They are believed to have supernatural powers, bestow blessings and nurture life. Kachina dolls carved from the cottonwood root were originally presented to the women and children of the tribe but now are made for others to enjoy. All kachina impersonations are performed by males, including the figures representing female Kachinas.|
Kachinas have become a part of many cultures and religions. A kachina is simply a spirit that represents animals, characterizations of people, crops, sun, earth, stars and the moon. For the Navajo People, kachina dolls mean more than just representations; they are a way of life, Navajo Tribes have adopted the tradition of crafting and using kachina dolls as their own. Navajo kachina dolls have become as much of a collectible as the fine jewelry, rugs, pottery and the countless other crafts which the Navajo make. The Navajo People are well-known for their outstanding artistic talents, which seem to be present throughout a large number of Navajo families.
The Navajo kachina doll derives from Hopi and Zuni kachinas and being that all of these reservations are very close to one another, especially the Hopi and Navajo which are side by side, it seems that each Tribe has (in some way) adopted each other's traditions whether it be kachina dolls, weavings, pottery, or jewelry. We hope to inform collectors about Navajo kachina dolls, and explain why they are so important to the Navajo People, not only as income for their family, but we know that the artists who make these wonderful dolls hold a great deal of respect for the kachina and what each doll represents.
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July 30, 2014
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